Thursday, July 01, 2010

(HERALD) Preps for Harare Agricultural Show hit top gear

Preps for Harare Agricultural Show hit top gear
By Golden Sibanda

PREPARATIONS for the 2010 Harare Agriculture Show have hit top gear amid high expectations that more foreign exhibitors will grace the event this year as the show celebrates a century of exhibition excellence.

Last year only 12 foreign companies took part at the premier international event which, however, was a major improvement from the 98th edition when only two external firms took part during the show. A total of 583 local companies took part in the exhibitions last year.

Zimbabwe Agricultural Society president Dr Robbie Mupawase told Herald Business in an interview that preparations were progressing well noting, however, that while bookings were still low major and traditional exhibitors had already made bookings.

The show will this year run for 10 days and expectations are that President Mugabe, who is the patron of the premier agriculture exhibition, would officially open the 100th anniversary of the agricultural show. South African President Jacob Zuma opened the show last year.

"The Zimbabwe Agricultural Society will be celebrating the 100th Harare Agricultural Show this year. We are excited about this event and the society’s achievements over the years.

"The show will be held over 10 days each representing 10 exhibition years. Our theme for this historic show is "100 years of exhibition excellence," said Dr Mupawose.

Expectations are that the show would witness significant improvement in exhibitions in the area of livestock, which had been affected by diseases and the macro-economic instability that afflicted the country over the years.

He said while aware of the economic challenges the country faced the society continued to entrench its position towards the economic growth of the country.

Dr Mupawose said expectations were that the event would be bigger, better and more spectacular after the general improvement in economic conditions. "We have hosted exhibitions with record numbers in terms of exhibitors and show goers even during the so-called difficult years.

"Deals have been sealed and potential clients, customers, buyers and investment opportunities identified by both national and international exhibitors during the show. We are proud of this contribution," said Dr Mupawose.

One of the key issues to note this year will be the promotion of local farmers, who are union members, to enter the show between August 19 and August 27.

"This facility will be for farmers who are holders of valid ZFU, CFU and ZFU.

"We are proud to be playing a major role in the promotion of local farmers through this promotion, our special exhibition categories will be in areas of livestock, home industries and agriculture produce," he said.

The ZSA president noted that the agricultural industry, which has a huge bearing on the success of the show, was beginning to recover, but he pointed out that the sector still faced serious constraints to fully recover.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has predicted that agriculture would grow by 10 percent this year and the ZAS president believes the industry still has what it takes to reclaim its position as a leading agriculture and industrial economy in Africa.

There was need, said Dr Mupawose, for effective utilisation of the land allocated to the landless majority during Government’s land reform programme.

"The country knows exactly what needs to be done to effectively revive the economy, which includes recommendations made by the Utete Commission, that were adopted by Government, but were not implemented.

"We need to get the financial sector back on track where it finances business so that the country can get back to play a major role in world economy," he said.

Industry, said Dr Mupawose must be assisted to start producing most of what is being imported at higher cost or imported at low cost but sold at high prices in speculative tendencies taking advantage of product unavailability.

He also called upon Government, labour and civil society to come together in seeking lasting solutions on how to return the economy to the days of glory.

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